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struction of the potato crop (which, indeed, would have come had Maynooth never been endowed—had popery been uprooted—nay, had we been all as holy as the blessed martyrs) would never have caused a famine in the land.
It seems to us that there is very much of impiety in a great deal of what is said about God's judgments, that much of it is nothing less than throwing upon God what is justly chargeable to man, and that true piety will be slow to believe that God interferes by miracle to starve his creatures, but will much rather believe that our merciful heavenly Father is grieved when men so depart from the ob. servance of these laws that regulate the production and distribution of food as to bring upon themselves such punishments. And now let us ask how far fasting and prayer as enjoined in the Royal Proclamation are suitable to this emergency. The “ Public Fast” and Day of Humiliation was, we believe, very generally observed. Many Presbyterians conformed—others, while they would yield to none in loyal allegiance to our beloved Queen in all civil matters, scru. pled to yield even seeming obedience to the state in religious con
But how far is such a thing suitable? We need not say that we have no faith in fasting as a means of propitiating God, and that taught by Jesus we have got far beyond such heathenish notions of Deity. Fasting, as a religious duty, is more ancient than either Christianity or Judaism, and has it roots in that idea so strange, yet so universal, that God's wrath is to be averted by man's voluntary sufferings. Besides, in early times, the priests were likewise the physicians, and occasional abstinence from food was thought good for the health, and we can see how easily and naturally fasting came to be looked upon as a religious duty. Moses enjoined but one fast, indicating his low estimate of the practice, and that it was rather allowed to their hardness of heart than willingly adopted. Our Saviour appointed no fast-did not (so far as we know) himself fast (for those forty days in the wilderness have no pertinence to the question). His disciples did not fast. His reply to the objection founded on their neglect of such an observance, points to a time when the bridegroom being taken from them, they would fast; but as he left no such injunction, it may be inferred that he used the word in its typical and not literal signification, and that his meaning was, that a time of mourning and affliction would surely enough come to them in God's own time, without their anticipating it by self-inflicted bodily mortifications. Still, fasting is not condemned by Christianity. It is permitted, not enjoined. If any have found it a means of spiritual good, as almost any act of self-denial may, there is nothing in the gospel to forbid its use. If others think lightly of it as a means of spiritual growth, that it does not well harmonize with Christ's teaching, that it is, as our Lord says, like putting new wine in old bottles, mixing up what belongs to a past age and condition of the human mind with that spiritual Christianity which is to be the salvation of God to it for ever, they who thus think lightly as we do of fasting as a religious duty, have much to confirm and sanctîon such views in the words and practice of our blessed Lord himself. If, indeed, the late fast has been in reality a general act of self-denial on the part of the richer classes in abstaining from the principal meal, even for one day, and that the amount thus saved had been given to the support of their poor neighbours, there would have been something suitable to the emergency, and would in the aggregate have formed no contemptible relief; but as to well dressed and well fed men and women assembling in churches and chapels-dispersing to their well provided homeseating fish instead of flesh, and calling this a fast and day of humiliation, what shall we say of it? Shall we praise them in this ? We praise them not.
But not so do we think, not so shall we speak of prayer. In this time of national distress it is most fitting we approach with lowly supplications God's high throne. In his hands issues of things. We have full belief in the efficacy of Prayer, not indeed to prevail with God to work miracles-not to lower the price of food, or to restore health to a diseased crop, or reverse the laws of the vegetable world ; but that communion with God's spirit in the secret temple of our souls, induces such pity, love, and compassion towards our fellow creatures, shows us our duty so clearly, strengthens our good resolves so wonderously, purifies our motives so truly, so rebukes our selfishness and enlarges our sympathies, that we go forth among our fellows prepared as no otherwise we could be, for meeting the requirements that press upon us in this time of national distress.
WORLD'S TEMPERANCE CONVENTION.
An assemblage of more than three hundred men, many of them persons of station in society, and of high intellectual attainments, brought together for the promotion of virtue and happiness in the human family, and without any view to personal emolument, or advantage of any kind, save the pleasure they might derive from the consciousness of “duty well performed,” is an event worthy of more than common commemoration.
The meeting of “The World's Temperance Convention” in London, in August last, is such an event; and, as it is one likely to mark an important era in the temperance reformation, I have pleasure in laying a short account of its rise and progress before the readers of the Irish Unicarian Magazine. The object had in view by the different societies, in various parts of the world, who sent Delegates to that important gathering, in which were to be found some of the noblest specimens of humanity, is one, the importance of which cannot be overestimated; and the time has arrived when it becomes the duty of all men to decide whether they will enrol themselves under the unstained white banner of Total Abstinence from intoxicating drinks, or be numbered among the drunkard makers in society. The election must be made, for the trumpet has sounded, and the call has
A spirit of weal, and a spirit of woe;
The spirit below, is the spirit of wine." A unanimous feeling in condemnation of the drinking customs of society pervaded the Convention ; in proof of which I may state, that the following resolution, after an animated discussion, was almost unanimously adopted.—There being only three or four dissentient voices :
“ Resolved—That, in view of all the information given to this Convention, our conviction of the immorality of the manufacture, sale, and use of intox. icating drinks, as a common beverage, is deepened and strengthened, and we desire loudly to enunciate to the world this strong conviction. Whether men may or may not be prepared to receive this great truth, this Convention is not able to determine, neither are they anxious on that point. They desire faithfully to do their duty, and to impress it on the consciences of all men who are engaged in the demoralizing practices referred to, that it is their bounden duty to renounce them at once, and for ever.”
Trath is not made any more true, by being adopted and proclaimed by many; yet it is, nevertheless, brought to bear with greater force on most minds when it comes before them sanctioned by the voice of the wise and good, assembled in large numbers to give their opinions and convictions to the world. I therefore point with peculiar emphasis to the above unfaltering resolution, as an evidence of what I have just now stated, that, the time has arrived when all
men must range with those who uphold the baneful and criminal drinking usages of the world, or with those who are the upholders of sobriety and virtue among men. There is no middle way. The phantom Moderation is an unknown quantity. It is the pioneer of demoralization.
The World's Temperance Convention arose out of the spontaneous convictions of earnest men in England and in America. I am not certain from which side the Atlantic the invitation first boomed across the waters, but it is certain that the joyful sound met a hearty response in both hemispheres. I rather think it was the American teetotalers who first proposed the great meeting in London, with a view to adding a fresh impulse to that glorious reformation which had already shed its benign and heavenly influences in so many quarters of the world.
France was represented in the Convention. The East and the West Indies were represented. America was largely represented, and Albion, Scotia and green Erin sent earnest men to confer with the brethren, and to help to redeem the world from the curse of moderate !! and immoderate drinking of alcoholic drinks.
The Convention met in the Literary Institution, Aldersgatestreet, London, and continued in session for five days, during which time an immense mass of information, both oral and written, was laid before it. Indeed, although the Convention, the General Committee, and the Sub-Committees devoted themselves, with great assiduity, to the business in hand— Time did not permit even one half of the valuable documents prepared by individuals and local societies, to be read, much less discussed, in general assembly. A great deal, however, was accomplished, and a report of the proceedings, in the shape of a good sized Book of 137 pages, has been since prepared and published by directions of the Convention. This task was confided to the indefatigable Secretary of the London So. ciety, Mr. Thomas Beggs, and herein will be found much valuable information, in the remarks of different speakers-in statisticsand in some valuable papers which were laid before the Convention.
It is not my object to give any detailed account of the proceedings of the World's Temperance Convention. I would, however, deeply impress upon the minds of your readers the great importance of this gathering together of earnest minds in relation to the social, moral, and religious improvement of our race. It wouid be an idle waste of time, eren if I were so inclined, for me to attempt to conceal the fact, that Intemperance is the great bane of Man's happiness ; and it would be equally absurd of me to attempt to prove that so-called moderation, was not the parent of all the crime, of all the immorality, and all the misery arising from the drunken habits which still too generally prevail.
Seeing, then, that these evils must be attributed to the use of alcoholic drinks, and that this fact is proved by such an amount of evidence as no intelligent person will pretend to gainsay or refute; is it not plainly the duty of all men to renounce“ at once and for ever' those drinking customs which are so mischievous to the human family ?
I am at a loss to imagine on what grounds men can any longer defend the use of intoxicating drinks. No one will deny that they are the creators of much crime and misery in society. Let any man step forward and prove to his fellows that these poisons promote, ia any degree, the health, the wealth, the peace or the comfort of society. There is no such man to be found. Even among the wholesale and retail venders of these seeds of destruction, who are deeply interested in the maintenance of the unholy traffic, a man hardy enough openly to defend his occupation, on the ground that it is innocent or useful, is not to be found. If Teetotalism could be put down by reason and argument, it would have long since been buried ignominiously under the maledictions of its enemies ; but it rests on an everlasting foundation; and its banners would have e'er now floated triumphantly over a regenerated world, but for the foul and discreditable alliance between drunkenness and moderation !!! between drunkards and drunkard-making temperance men.
The World's Temperance Convention was assembled for the purpose of giving a fresh impulse to Teetotalism. The Delegates represented the united opinions of millions of men and women who sent them to proclaim to mankind, from one great centre of living thought and feeling, that alcohol is a poison alike destructive of the moral and physical well-being of Man; and to awaken the slumbering consciences of the sensual and the indifferent, to this great truth, that, “ The drinking customs of society are at war with the virtue and happiness of the human race;" to tell the Clergy in an especial manner, that they have failed hitherto in performance of their duty in regard to this great question ; that they should at once, one and all, throw themselves into this holy warfare against sin and misery; to declare to them in plain and undisguised language-that a drinking Clergy cannot be a Christian Clergy, or a drinking people a Christian people. Until the Church reform herself, by put